Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg (pictured) unveiled its latest headset Quest 3, smart glasses and detailed a big push around AI through new tools for its Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp apps.

At the company’s Meta Connect developer event, Zuckerberg said Quest 3 is Meta’s first mainstream mixed reality headset, combining VR and AR capabilities.

The new Quest comes with improved lenses and graphics performance claimed to be twice as strong as the Quest 2 and features Qualcomm’s Snapdragon next-generation XR2 Gen 2 processor designed specifically for smart glasses.

Similar to Quest 2, the device allows users to overlay or blend digital elements from the virtual screen and Zuckerberg added the new device enables a more expansive view of the physical space.

Quest 3 is priced at $499, with shipping starting on 10 October.

Leo Gebbie, principal analyst for connected devices at CCS Insight said Meta will need to work hard to demonstrate the benefits of mixed reality technology, “which are not immediately obvious”.

AI play
On to AI, Zuckerberg unveiled a new generative chatbot which is able to search for answers to user questions and an image generator similar to OpenAI’s paywalled DALL-E, which produces picture content based on text prompts.

The latter tool, dubbed EMU, can apparently generate pictures within five seconds and will be rolled out across Meta’s social media platforms.

Meanwhile, the Meta AI chatbot, is integrated with Microsoft’s search engine Bing and is based on its open-source model Llama-2.

Meta AI beta version will launch in US today (28 September).

Zuckerberg also teased it will launch new AI personalities or avatars which represent different interests and professions, aimed to assist users with specific queries. It is also building a platform for developers to create AI avatars.

Meanwhile, an upgraded version of Meta’s smart glasses, developed in collaboration with Ray-Ban, will begin shipping on 17 October for $299.

The wearable will incorporate the new AI assistant and enable users to record video content and post directly to Facebook and Instagram. A previous generation only allowed users to snap images.